LXX - order of the books, discussion of what the Septuagint is

Schmuel schmuel at escape.com
Mon Sep 9 03:34:56 EDT 2002

Shalom b-hebrew,

Bill Ross
> > I did not see a reply to this question. I'm sure it is common knowledge,
> > but I do not own an LXX. What order is it in? Does it end in 
> Zechariah?  Malichi?

Joe Sprinkle
>I think that one must distinguish between the original LXX and later
>copies.  Originally the books of the LXX were translated into Greek before
>there were any "books" with covers and pages.  The orginal LXX was a group
>of scrolls.  The question of the "order" of the LXX, in that case, may
>have been meaningless except for books such as the twelve minor prophets
>that all went on one scroll.


I assume you are saying this because the Hebrew manuscripts of the time
were generally in scrolls as you are describing..

My understanding is that no one has ever recovered such a Greek scroll, or even
a description of such a Greek scroll before the time of Messiah, so your
description is a conjecture, based upon ..

   1) the Aristeas letter, and the much later writing of Philo, the ambiguous
       introduction to Ben Sirach, and such.... which put together indicate 
       there were some sorts of Greek translations at various times, (although
       with the emphasis on the Pentateuch)
   2) our knowledge of how Hebrew scrolls were written, and applying that 
to Greek
   3) a small section of Greek Deuteronomy recovered from within 100 years 
of 0 year,
       which can't help us with book order...

Let's try to be clear what is based on actual evidentiary discovery,
and what is conjecture .....

Joe Sprinkle
>The later copies I know have some variations on which books of the
>Apocrypha are included.  Manuscripts may also vary on Hebrew Bible books.


This seems to be a description of Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaticus,
which are *called* the LXX, even though they are much later dubious Christian
manuscripts, circa 350 AD, about 600 years after the supposed LXX authorship,

My understanding is that Sinaticus has an internal note that it descends 
from the
5th column of Origen's Hexapla, AND there is no scholarship lineage 
afaik, with earlier writings that may be considered LXX influenced (e.g. 
AND there are no earlier extant Greek manuscript Tanach texts to compare 
Sinat/Vatic with
  .. keep in mind that these two manuscripts also have MAJOR differences 
from the Masoretic Text ..

I believe it is important for any questioner like Bill to understand that 
these two manuscripts
are often principally what is actually called the LXX ... even though they 
date 600 years
later, and meanwhile Messiah appeared, and the Messianic Testament was 
written, and lots
happened, (including a Gentile interest in translating the Tanach) in the 

And that LXX scholarship augments these two principle manuscripts with
such things as Latin, Aramaic and Hebrew writings back-translated to
Greek, a rather arcane and dubious way to "reconstruct" a supposed LXX text...

leading of course to lots of work for scholars, and no clear agreement on 
what the
supposed LXX is

(btw the Orthodox.. largely Greek, I think... have a new translation in 
process, again
  it seems that Sinaticus and Vaticanus are the "base")

Joe Sprinkle
>As for the order of the books, here is one list based on Swete which ends
>with Daniel (with apocryphal additions):  http://www.ccel.org/bible/brenton/


Swete intersperses the Tanach (OT) Apocrypha, seemingly because that is 
what Sinaticus and Vaticanus do, although with different books and orders, 
as those two manuscripts seemed to consider the apocrypha as Scripture ..
(by this time we have "book order", in one large manuscript)

This is despite the fact that one can make an extremely strong case that 
the Hebrew Bible canon was closed quite early, using the DSS and Josephus.. 
augmented by the Talmud, and that the true Christian understanding does not 
include the apocrypha (e.g. they are never referenced as Scripture in the 
Messianic Testament, and the Abel to Zechariah reference goes in synch with 
the Masoretic Text book order, and the apocrypha books are generally not in 
the canons of the day ) ...

Sinaticus and Vaticanus really should be the bete noire of scholarship, 
tainting on three levels..

    1) becoming more important than 100's of Messianic Testament 
manuscripts due
        to certain non-scriptural textcrit paradigms
    2) allowing for a "apocrypha is Scripture" argument, once they are 
embraced as
        significant manuscripts
    3) casting doubt on the Masoretic Text, as it offers a very different, 
often clearly corrupt,
        Tanach alternative.....

Unfortunately, instead they have instead become the "little darlings"

Anyone who wants to research the issue more, I suggest look up the actual 
condition (not just textual..scribal) of Sinaticus ... starting with Dean 
John Burgon's analysis,
and then seeing if anyone has offered a differing view than Burgon of the 
state of the text
(e.g. over 10 hands "redacting/correcting" each others errors !)

If you accept Burgon's analysis, and have any concept of Scribal 
preservation or integrity,
one has to say "why is this manuscript used for **anything**" ?

One more point on the LXX --
Floyd Nolan Jones has an excellent online book on the LXX ..
   The Septuagint: A Critical Analysis by Floyd Nolan Jones

Ready to receive any corrections on the above, and perhaps a bit of flak :-)


Steven Avery
Queens, NY

schmuel at escape.com

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